For the third year in a row, Melissa Swauger’s Sociology of Family students, the IUP Food and Nutrition Department, the Indiana Community Garden, Indiana County Community Action Program, Inc., Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Zion Lutheran Church, and Chevy Chase Community Center are cosponsoring Hunger Awareness Week and the Seedling Project, April 25–29, 2016.
These events will touched hundreds of students and local community members. Hunger Awareness Week and the Seedling Project offer students opportunities to learn about real-life community issues, and to connect what they learn in the classroom to real people and correct their misperceptions. Students are empowered to determine the course of their learning and feel invested in making these projects successful because they are informed and knowledgeable, theoretically and practically, about the needs of the community.
Residents are invited to participate in local events during Hunger Awareness Week and the Seedling Project:
The objective of this project is to raise food for the Zion Lutheran food pantry. There will be a van parked in the HUB cul-de-sac for members of the IUP and Indiana community to drop off nonperishable food items and toiletries. Drop-offs will be accepted from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. When patrons drop off an item, they will receive a token bag which will include a seed packet, an inspirational growing message, and a hunger awareness fact.
The objective of the screening is to raise awareness of national and local hunger and food insecurity issues. 50 million Americans—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A Place at the Table tells the powerful stories of three such Americans, who maintain their dignity even as they struggle just to eat. Panelists will discuss hunger and food insecurity nationally and locally, local programs to combat hunger, and the hunger problem on IUP’s campus. The panelists include Amber Book, Regional SNAP Outreach Coordinator, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Aimee Kemp, Food Program Counselor, ICCAP, and Fallon Simpson, a student from the Sociology of Family class who is exploring hunger on IUP’s campus and how other Pennsylvania State System schools are working to eradicate hunger among students.
The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive month to month. To participate, you must e-mail Swauger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The entire month of April there will be displays (one in the library and one in McElhaney Hall) which will include visual information about hunger and food insecurity locally and nationally. These displays are created by IUP students.
Distributions will occur April 25 and May 9 at Zion and May 10 at Chevy Chase for preregistered patrons from Zion, Chevy Chase, Church of the Brethren, Unity Family Services, and Trinity Methodist. The project will provide approximately 150 families access to fresh fruit, vegetable, and herb seeds and seedlings. Students work with community partners and food pantries to assess patron interest, solicit donations from greenhouses, local and national seed companies, local Indiana farms, local landscaping companies, and national chain lawn and garden centers. Students coordinate delivery and distribution based on the viability of seedlings and weather conditions.
Department of Sociology